Tag Archive | recipe

Afternoon Delight

Or Has the Sangria Queen Meet Her Match?

It’s only 3 weeks to go before I leave England’s rain sodden shores for sunnier climes for my annual pilgrimage to the sun with my mother and two sisters, plus this year, my sister’s niece is also joining us – one happy band of girls hitting the beaches of Corfu. For our holidays we always rent a villa for a fortnight, our own pool is a must, and we never bother hiring a car. Buses and taxis are much more fun.

Must Have Our 5-A-Day

The first thing we do when we arrive at our destination is to find the local supermarket and stock up with essential supplies. The holiday company always leaves a welcome pack – tea, coffee, bread, bottle of wine, marmalade, butter, cheese, milk  – but our needs expand to more necessities as we are great believers in having our five a day on holiday as the picture right testifies.

Part of our holiday ritual involves an afternoon “sundowner” made by me. I’m the Sangria Queen, an expert, but I need to make a few jugfuls before we go away and perfect my recipe. After 20 years of making this afternoon delight, you’d think I wouldn’t need any practice but the year before last whilst back in Minorca, I met my match on the sangria front. Admittedly, it was in the guise of a local bar owner who added his own lilt on the recipe; but for his one addition, his made it in exactly the same way as taught to me many moons ago by a gorgeous, sweet Spanish bar owner on Majorca.

The secret is to not use cheap plonk or cheap “local” alternatives to the liqueurs. A good drink, like a good meal, deserves the best you can afford. We’ve tried it “on the cheap” and it just doesn’t cut it, certainly not for our discerning and deserving tastebuds. Always use a wine you enjoy drinking. Lousy wine makes lousy sangria. And please… never use the ready-made stuff sold in bottles. Yuck! It will put you off sangria for life.

The biggest problem we always find on holiday is most villas do not have a decent serving jug, let alone a big one. We always end up buying one, normally pottery – you know, the touristy type of thing, flowers, bright colours – that comes home with us. I think this year it is my mother’s turn to have the jug but knowing her, she’ll  decide to leave it at the villa for someone else to enjoy.

So, here goes. Here’s the Recipe:

Cheers: Another Good Day in Paradise

The morning or day/evening before you plan to serve, prepare all your fruit. Proportions and ratios don’t count here – whatever you have to hand in the fruit bowl (we always keep fruit in the fridge on holiday). The only fruits to avoid are bananas and kiwi. So, into the serving jug goes sliced apple, orange, lemon, lime, diced melon, cherries if you can find them, strawberries even. Working to one bottle of wine, on top of the fruit pour over half a wine glass of brandy (good stuff please) and half a glass of Cointreau or Grand Marnier and allow to steep in the fridge until required. When ready to serve, pour in a bottle of red wine, top up with ice cubes and then add lemonade. Taste (cook’s perk) to check there’s enough brandy and Cointreau in it. You probably won’t get much lemonade into the jug so serve extra lemonade to taste separately. Serve with a spoon to eat the luscious fruit at the end.

This can also be made with white wine and/or champagne but we have found we much prefer it the traditional way.

Now for that extra something the bartender in Minorca added: to the fruit he also added a measure of banana liqueur. It made such a difference, so if you’ve got some to hand, do try.

Enjoy, down to the last drop!

More Please

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Cake Recipe: Apple Crumb Cake

In response to numerous requests following my blog on German Easter Traditions, I’m happy to include a delicious Rachel Allen‘s recipe for Apple Crumble Cake on my Recipes page. Often eaten as part of breakfast in Germany any day of the year, this cake is equally delicious made with plums. I do hope you’ll give it a try.

Applecake for Breakfast?

Come to my house for Easter and you will most probably be served Applecake at breakfast, as German a tradition as sauerkraut and bratwurst, Christmas trees and Schnapps.

Brought up in England by my English father and German mother, I consider myself fortunate to have enjoyed the best of both cultures, both so similar and yet in many ways worlds apart. Easter (Ostern) was a particularly enjoyable festival, heralding the end of winter. The house would be full of vases of daffodils picked from the garden and nearby orchard where they grew in profusion.

The custom of boiling and painting eggs, the symbol of new life, began in Germany during the 16th Century, the bright colours representing sunlight and growth. When we were little, my mother would wait until we four children were tucked up in bed before boiling eggs then painting and decorating each one before hiding them in the garden, either amongst the flowerbeds or often as not hanging from the branches of trees and shrubs for us to find on Easter morning. These, she told us, had been put there by the Easter Hare (der Osterhase). An article this weekend in one of the newspapers decried the arrival of Easter trees in the shops as a commercial extension of the Christmas tree but Egg Trees have long been part of traditional Easter celebrations in Germany.

As we grew older, we would help decorate eggs to be served for breakfast along with cold meats, cheese and bread followed by applecake. My father would also give each of us a small chocolate egg into the package of which he would place money for us to buy as much chocolate as we wanted. The first edible Easter Bunnies were also made in Germany, in about 1800. These were frequently made of marzipan covered in chocolate.

On Good Friday, toasted Hot Cross Buns would be served for breakfast, the day spent in quiet contemplation although we were not a religious family. On the Saturday evening a bonfire would often be lit, as a way of driving out the Winter spirits and welcoming in the warmth of Spring, although this was a good way for my mother to get rid of the trimmings from the shrubs she had cut back in March.

My German grandfather (Opa) was the baker in the village where my mother grew up and his cakes and pastries were legendary.

He would also bake a special Easter cake in the shape of a lamb. Many of his recipes have been handed on but, sadly, many were not written down and the recipes consequently lost. Thankfully, my mother inherited his talent and baked delicious cakes and confection but as the years have taken their toll, she has forgotten many of the recipes, so it was with relief and pleasure we came across Coppenrath & Weise Apple Crumb Cake in shops such as Makro. This is the nearest to the real thing you can buy and you don’t have to wait until next Easter to enjoy it.

Traditional Lamb Cake (Delicious with fresh-brewed coffee)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions: With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar, then add in the water. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add into butter mixture and mix well. Add in the vanilla. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, then add into batter.Grease and flour one lamb cake mould, and pour in batter. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F (175 C) for about forty five minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. When cold, dust with icing sugar.

 Tip for the Day: Does your butter go rancid in the heat yet if you keep it in the fridge it is rock hard. Instead of putting a whole block of butter out, keep only small amounts in the butter dish, say a quarter or half block. That way, it gets used quickly and the butter is always fresh. Unless, that is, you honestly prefer the oil-based concocted whips that spread straight from the fridge or you like playing games with the microwave guessing how long the butter will take to soften before melting, and melt it usually does.